For the last few months, a killer stalked the streets of Cornwall… or more specifically, the water of Cornwall, and even more specifically, the living reefs exhibit at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium. Day after day, aquarists would return to the award winning exhibit, only to find once healthy coral ripped apart – in some cases literally ripped in half.
Clues were few and a variety of traps yielded no results. When a gentle tang fish was found greviously injured, they called in Scotland Yard. On a side note, tang is delicious.
Reluctant to remember the incident, Curator Matt Slater finally explained the situation in a whisper, “As part of our tropical marine displays we have been painstakingly propagating a variety of corals. They are extremely slow-growing and every one we have lost to these attacks was a major blow.”
Having exhausted all other efforts, the frustrating decision was made to take the exhibit apart piece by piece. Halfway through the process, the terrifying perpetrator was revealed, a monstrous four foot long giant reef worm. Mug shot below:
Proof that there is no god or that he just digs Tremors?
In between sobs, Curator Slater continued, “It really does look like something out of a horror movie! It’s over four feet long with these bizarre-looking jaws. Having done some research we also discovered that it is covered with thousands of bristles which are capable of inflicting a sting resulting in permanent numbness’.”
Matt believes it probably arrived as a juvenile in a delivery of living rock from another aquarium.
After being carefully removed the worm – which has been nicknamed ‘Barry’ by staff – has been re-located into its own tank, safely away from the coral where it will be tortured for its crime of being born a bristle worm.
On yet another side note, we used to use “sandworms” for bait when fishing for bluefish in Long Island Sound as a child. One bit me once. I loved almost all living things, but sandworms (and earwigs) and I will never, never, see eye to eyespot.